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Must Watch Korean Dramas

While K-pop music may be the most well-known form of Korean entertainment nowadays, Korean dramas are also taking over in popularity. Dramatic, addictive, and intense, Korean dramas are worth giving a look into. I am by no means a Korean drama expert, but as a longtime viewer, here are my recommendations. 

My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010)

As you may already be able to guess from its tile, My Girlfriend is Nine-Tailed Fox  is a romantic comedy with an odd storyline that will have you scratching your head, but laughing, smiling, and crying your heart out in the final episodes. A young man runs away from his grandfather and accidentally frees a nine-tailed fox, a gumiho who was trapped in a painting for hundreds of years, but takes the physical form of a beautiful woman. She saves his life after he is severely injured and asks him to help her become human and teach her how to act like one. Inevitably, as time passes, their mutual relationship becomes more complex as they start to fall for one another.

This drama takes a different approach on the typical romantic comedy; while it does have its flaws, it will most definitely be one that lingers afterwards.  


City Hunter (2011)

Based on the manga “City Hunter” by Tsukasa Hojo, this drama follows the story of a  young man who plans revenge on five corrupt politicians who caused the death of his father. It has action, adventure, suspense, romance, mystery, crime – all the elements for a face paced, tension-filled drama that will leave you sitting on the edge of your chair. The plot of this drama frequently involves politics, which may be confusing at times.  But the gripping storyline, constant suspense, and epic action scenes make this drama a definite must-watch.


I Can Hear Your Voice (2013)

Next up is I Can Hear Your Voice, which features the unlikely team of a bold, sassy lawyer and a young man who can hear thoughts. Having first met a decade ago during a murder case, they work together to find justice in the courtroom. In addition to its unique plot, the drama flows along seamlessly with elements of romance, comedy, suspense, thriller, and friendship. All the characters, even the villain, are relatable, compelling, and developed in their own way by the end. This memorable drama, with its beautiful music, is riveting all the way to the final episode.


It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

And finally, It’s Okay, That’s Love. 

It is troubling that while South Korea has one of the worst mental health problems in the industrialized world, mental health is not a topic that is addressed very often or openly in Korean media. When it is, it often comes across as comical. It typically wavers between two extremes, either something too light that can easily be shrugged off as comic relief or a silly quirk or something too heavy, an ethereal, inhuman force that should be feared. It’s Okay, That’s Love,  which openly addresses mental disorders, such as genophobia, tourette syndrome, and schizophrenia, is able to present something serious and keep a lighthearted tone without being insulting.

A famous mystery novelist with a prickly personality meets a psychiatrist when they both serve on a talk show panel. Their personalities instantly clash, but they come to help each other overcome their own emotional scars. Throughout it all, the drama stays realistic, depicting the struggles in relationships that people with mental disorders have to face and the characters themselves are genuine, lovable; they fight, bicker, annoy, and frustrate one another, yet ultimately realize they all have their own flaws, how important it is for humans to love and be loved.

Images via DramaFever  

Dede Ahn

UCSB '20

Dede is a first year English major at UCSB. 
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